Pyroelectric power generation from the waste heat of automotive exhaust gas
Waste heat is a potentially exploitable energy source but remains a problem awaiting a solution. To explore solutions for automobile applications, we investigate pyroelectric power generation from the temperature variation of exhaust gas using a novel electro-thermodynamic cycle. Niobium-doped lead zirconate titanate stannate (PNZST) ceramics were applied as pyroelectric materials, and their structural characteristics were investigated. In the driving cycle assessments (JC-08) using real exhaust gas, the maximum power generated was identified as 143.9 mW cm−3 (777.3 J L−1 per 1 cycle) over a temperature range of 150–220 °C and an electric field of 13 kV cm−1. The net mean generating power of the total driving cycle was 40.8 mW cm−3, which is the most enhanced result in our power generating systems to date and 314 times greater than our first report. Materials with sharp transition behaviors with the temperature and electric field are worthy of study with regard to pyroelectric energy harvesting materials, and their corresponding crystal and domain structures were investigated to optimize performance.